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Alex Schleber
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~ "The Future is already here, it's just not evenly distributed yet." ~ William Gibson

Ghost of Mediums Past...

/cc +Alexander Becker +David Wood +Gideon Rosenblatt +Brett Legree
Retweeted. Favorite Favorited. More. Embed Tweet. Elle Schneider ‏@elleschneider 34m34 minutes ago · @GreatDismal I'm working on a personal photo series called "Last Phones," documenting crumbling public payphones I encounter. End of an era. Expand Collapse 0 replies 0 retweets 0 favorites ...
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From the guy that does InternetArchive.org, click through for the image of bookshelves made of books. Prompted my retort:
"#dinomedia... books by the metric ton...?"

twitter.com/brewster_kahle/status/738797112524034048 "...Brewster Kahle ‏/@brewster_kahle Jun 3
Free Books this weekend in Berkeley!@internetarchive donated 100k dups, soon available free www.baybookfest.org/content/festival/lacuna.html
"---

Btw should be cool conf there this week:
" #DWebSummit at @internetarchive: Now w/ 100% more @timberners_lee! Attend or stream live: http://decentralizedweb.net
"---

/cc +Alexander Becker +David Wood +Woozle Hypertwin 
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#infosec  --- in case you still weren't clear on whether Chrome Extensions are an unacceptable security and #privacy risk...

I personally have had all but Ghostery and Buffer disabled/uninstalled for a good while now, and I probably should disable Buffer as well (never trust any extension for which you have not personally reviewed the code, or had it vetted by a trusted third party; also see the caveat in the excerpts below as to possible opaque extras being loaded in!).

I've written a few simple Extensions for my own purposes, and can tell you that it's not rocket science, making it all the more galling that Google hasn't put more of a lock on things in terms of security and privacy (most of these wouldn't need nearly as as extensive of permissions as they ultimately get granted because it's easier for the developers...).

And the following should really have the hair on the back of your neck standing up:

"...Google, claiming that Chrome is the safest web browser out there, is actually making it very simple for extensions to hide how aggressively they are tracking their users. We have also discovered exactly how intrusive this sort of tracking actually is and how these tracking companies actually do a lot of things trying to hide it.

Due to the fact that the gathering of data is made inside an extension, all other extensions created to prevent tracking (such as Ghostery) are completely bypassed.
...
This is an ugly one. Some third-party tracking services use a tracking script SDK inside the extensions. But the first time it runs, it replaces this code by making a few requests fetching new JavaScript-code and storing it in the extension’s file storage and saves references to the files in the local storage of the extension.

This makes it possible for the extension to constantly run and update arbitrary code controlled by the third-party not included by the extension from the beginning. Now, note that this file storage and local storage functionality is only because of the tracking scripts, not due to the functionality of extension itself.
...
Our guess is that this is a way to bypass any filters used by Chrome Web Store to identify malicious extensions and abuse of privacy. It’s also a great way for the tracking scripts to be auto updated, without forcing the user or the owner of the extension to update the extension.

They are sending over everything about you. Every. Thing. Even relations between websites that is only known by the current user, since the pages themselves are not linked in any way. They also steal all your cookies and OAuth access-tokens...
"---

Oh goodie... I repeat, if you are running Chrome Extensions, you are extremely likely having your data exploited, or worse.

Note: I like Chrome, and use it as my primary browser, however I use a completely separate instance of Firefox to do all my online shopping, banking, etc. ONLY and nothing else, and that instance has no extensions, and is generally locked down as to tracking, with cookies limited to the actual sites I use.

/cc +John Blossom +Gideon Rosenblatt +Eli Fennell +David Wood +Alexander Becker +Ana Hoffman +Steve Faktor 
TL;DR, Popular Google Chrome extensions are constantly tracking you per default, making it very difficult or impossible for you to opt-out. These extensions will receive your complete browsing...
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Still trying to get going here, but:

1. This is pretty much the problem I've been highlighting over browser extensions for years, going back originally to Firefox. It's one thing to have an open source, source-inspected browser. It's another to have an "ecosystem" of many thousands of largely uninspected third-party additions (Chrome and Firefox browsers, much of the Windows "freeware" market, Apple and Android app stores) is simply a slow-motion train wreck in process.

2. Data are liability.

3. As several folks have mentioned above, I've been looking into various ways of sandboxing browser functionality. This might actually be a useful spin-out of VMs or containers -- there's the TailsOS, which offers a full browser experience within a VM, plus Tor. Of course, that also locks down a hell of a lot of extension options.

4. I've been looking at how to best firewall off a new Mac from much of this cruft. I'm leaning to either periodically updating or just statically inserting host and domain-level blocklists, largely drawn from uBlock's filters (many of these are regex patterns within URLs, but others are wholesale host and domain blocks). Next level up would be to include firewall rules applying to CIDR blocks associated with spaces that really don't need access -- the datacenters associated with spam and malware themselves. Both pf (the OpenBSD firewall) and Little Snitch (an OS X application) seem appropriate here. I'll be sharing more on what I do come up with.

5. Ideally I'd like these smarts in my local gateway, and am looking for how best to provide for this. Flashing an ancient WRT54G access point with something useful (Tomato?), or replacing it with a newer and more capable (these aren't necessarily mutual categories) device, or putting in a dedicated firewall / proxy host (a good small-computer project) all seem like fair options. Wish I could find same in a G4 LTE WiFi hotspot as well, and/or for my Android tablet....

6. As I posted a week or so back, the Android app ecosystem is similarly very, very broken. In the case of both it and Chrome, Google should really determine what the intent of the apps/extensions capability is. I've argued that this would be far better served by encouraging cooperation of developers to create necessary and useful tools which work in the user's interests, and thereby increase overall utility to Google, rather than the attack-the-user model that exists presently.
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This is about the best, most succinct metaphor to express things:
"...There is no reason to suspect that governments can better detect needles simply by building taller haystacks." Kudos!
 
Number of Attacks Foiled by Bulk Intercepts Prior to Last Friday: 0

Number of Attacks Foiled by Bulk Intercepts Afterwards: 0

There is no reason to suspect that governments can better detect needles simply by building taller haystacks. Unless terrorists' communications produce very distinct graph features -- and I find this unlikely -- then bulk intercepts aren't particularly useful. The evidence (such as it is) appears to bear this out. 
The attacks underscore the mounting difficulties U.S. and Western intelligence agencies are having in tracking the terror group, resulting in repeated warnings that their efforts to conduct surveillance of Islamic State suspects were “going dark.”
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Well put: "Encryption Is Being Scapegoated To Mask The Failures Of Mass Surveillance"
techcrunch.com/2015/11/17/the-blame-game/

and kudos to TC for not mincing words.
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*Preview on Y-Combinator's current YC Summer '15 batch via a handy ProductHunt (itself YCS14) collection* (complete with a PH-based vote ranking at that...)

...ahead of their Demo Day(s) starting tomorrow 8/18-19.

Feels overall a bit more frivolous than >> ycuniverse.com/ycw15 perhaps, also a lot of workforce-related entries, especially of the "on-demand"/contractor/etc. variety.

I've tested out >> www.producthunt.com/tech/80-000-hours-career-quiz however, and it feels pretty spot on... :)

For my own project I've also been having my eye on:
"Zeplin 1.0 - Collaboration & handoff for UI designers/frontend developers"
>> zeplin.io/features.html

#bizintel   #startups   #ycombinator  
/cc +Gideon Rosenblatt +Gregory Esau +Rob Gordon +Sandy Fischler +John Blossom +John Kellden +Ana Hoffman +Deen Abiola +CJ Dulberger +David Wood +Steve Faktor +Daniel Estrada +Walter H Groth +Paul Simbeck-Hampson 
A collection curated by Product Hunt, featuring products like Nebia Shower, Zeplin 1.0, Paribus, Lugg, and Click and Grow
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+Gideon Rosenblatt as if on cue, just came across this recent post from Venkat I hadn't read yet:
ribbonfarm.com/2015/08/04/the-four-forces-for-sociology/

"... 1. Sex and kinship are the strong force of humanity. Just as proton decay (theoretical, not yet confirmed) is likely to be one of the slowest processes in the universe, this force keeps social groups together via the tightest, most enduring bonds.
...
2. Trust is the weak force. It has transitive effectiveness (if A trusts B and B trusts C, then A trusts C type effects) up to about 1-2 degrees at most on the social graph.
...
3. Skills complementarity is the electromagnetic force. Responsible for all partly reversible, functionally-constituted entities. All the way from business partnerships to tribal alliances to a large corporation or army.
...
4. Brand attraction is like the gravitational force. It only becomes relevant in sufficiently high aggregation of humans that all act under the aegis of a powerful symbol. Even where this is a single human at the center of a brand, like a king or Steve Jobs, the branded persona that creates the attraction field is distinct from the person, and has brand equity via social proof."
---
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"Google Photos... a visual equivalent to Gmail" --- I rather like this rationale.

Sounds like Bradley Horowitz has finally arrived where he wanted to be product-wise (and has pushed since launch... to the consternation of some of us... #waronwords ) in the first place: The photo-side of G+.

It also sounds like they did their homework (this time...) on #Privacy issues surrounding a vast personal photo database.

*As for the questions surrounding Google+, he got into a fair bit of detail in the interview. Potentially significant changes* appear in the offing (some  minor [...] inline commentary by me):

"...Google Photos faces extraordinary competition from the likes of Apple, Flickr, and any number of storage services, but the company has diligently leveraged its strengths to produce a product it hopes users will view as a visual equivalent to Gmail: a standalone free service with a premium option for more, super high res, storage.
...
[Bradley Horowitz:] We aspire to do for photo management what Gmail did for email management. Gmail wasn’t the first email service. But it offered a different paradigm of how one managed one’s inbox. We want to do that for photo management: To give you enough storage so you can relax and not worry about how much photo bandwidth you’re consuming, and enough organizing power so you don’t have to think about the tedium of managing your digital gallery.
...
...
Let’s talk about Google Plus, which you’ve been involved with since its beginning. Where is it going?

Three and a half years into this journey, we’re looking at what the users are telling us Google Plus is good for, and doubling down on those uses. For instance, one particular use-case on Google Plus is people aligning around common interests.

If I’m interested in astronomy and I want to meet other people interested in astronomy, we think we have a good solution — Collections, a new feature that we launched just two weeks ago. It’s the first in a series of pivots. We’re also *moving aside the things that either belong as independent products, like photos, or eliminating things that we think aren’t working.*

What things aren’t going to be there anymore?

I’m not going to divulge the product plans. You can *connect a couple of the dots yourself and understand what is working and what isn’t working.*

Let’s get back to Collections — can you describe the product?

It’s basically the ability for me to post topically. ...
...
Is it fair to say Google is distancing itself from the original concept of Plus?

*It’s fair to say you’re about to see a huge shift in what Plus is becoming. It’s a shift in response to what users are telling us.* That’s a very healthy and natural thing. As opposed to sticking to strategies of years ago, we’re actually adapting to how the product is successful in market and doubling-down on that.

Have you ever thought of dropping the name “Plus”?

I’m not sure what that would accomplish. It hasn’t seriously crossed my mind. *I think there are product pivots and refinements to what that product actually is. We have been less than clear about who that product is good for and who that product is for and what it’s good for.* I think you’re seeing us crisp that up and actually have a much better articulated value proposition so that that becomes very evident to users: what, when and why to use this product.

[my commentary: that feels terribly LATE in the game given that G+ is nearly 4 years old now...]

How successful was Google Plus in understanding who was using Google in general?

It’s created a huge amount of value in creating common identity for users. The Google of 10 years ago was many separate, silo-ed identity and sharing systems. I think we have been successful in unifying that experience for users. And anytime you see a name or a face on Google, our team provides the infrastructure.
...
...
(PR Person:) Can you just say it? Say that Google Plus is not dead, please.

OK, let me ask you — is Google Plus dead?

No, Google Plus is not dead. In fact, *it’s got more signs of life than it’s had in some time.*
"---

Hmmm... "more signs of life" would imply that it in fact has BEEN in a semi-dead, as I've long called it, "zombified" state... let's hope these next steps reinvigorate rather than palliate...

#io15   /cc +John Blossom +Eli Fennell +Max Huijgen +Ana Hoffman +Shaker Cherukuri +Steve Faktor +Gideon Rosenblatt +Walter H Groth +M Sinclair Stevens +Lev Osherovich +Paul Simbeck-Hampson +Sandy Fischler
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*Is this the "last laptop"...?*

Now simply called "the Macbook", the device is FANLESS, 12" high-resolution 2304 x 1440 display ("Retina"), 2lbs even, 13.1mm thick, which is another 0.4 lbs lighter and 1/4 thinner than the current smallest MacBook Air 11.6" version.

Specs aren't weren't out on the Apple web site yet, but you may want to keep the MBA specs handy for comparison:
www.apple.com/macbook-air/specs.html

I would assume that given the all around "shaved down" bezels and edges on the screen/body, that the overall footprint is no bigger than the MBA-11, and we can already see that the screen will have the same, nicer 16:10 aspect ration as the MBA-13 and MBP-13 models. The old MBA-11 had a somewhat more "squished"-feeling 16:9, which is one of the reasons I always avoided it in favor of the larger (but also heavier) 13" models.

Only fly in the ointment I can find so far:
www.theverge.com/2015/3/9/8174219/apple-macbook-usb-type-c-connector

You'll need an adapter to work with any previous generation USB plugs/memory sticks/etc. Though for once the rationale for reducing things to just one port (one of Apple's favorite stunts...) feels justified, now that the logic board is only about 1/4(!) the old size anymore:
thenextweb.com/apple/2015/03/09/apple-announces-redesigned-macbook-air/

Ah! UPDATE: As I was still writing this, the site updated to the new specs (though still not 100% complete):
www.apple.com/macbook/

They added : www.apple.com/macbook/design/ which has more photos of the internals, as well as stating(apparently) 8GB RAM and 256 GB SSD standard (512GB max).

If you look at the image from the chassis below, the batteries will take up about 80-90% of the internal space. This thing is all batteries!

The Intel Core M will run on just 5 Watts of power, and the device will run for a claimed 9 hours despite the high-res screen. >>

#applewatch  event #macbook   /cc +Steve Faktor +John Blossom +Eli Fennell +Rennie Allen +Sandy Fischler +Gideon Rosenblatt +Lev Osherovich +Wayne Radinsky +Gideon Rosenblatt 
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Related: (in light of Apple's Fall event 9/9 this week) "The MacBook Air is on a path to extinction"
www.theverge.com/2015/9/8/9275157/apple-macbook-air-pro-retina-redesign-phase-out
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So it appears that the #WarOnWords, long felt and predicted by many of us, is reaching a crescendo this year:

"...If you had to guess which group of BuzzFeed’s content creators will be hit the hardest in the event of a “correction,” would you go with the incredibly prolific video division and its prized stars (who have large followings on Facebook, which is eating publishing) who may have scored exclusive contracts or... the people (once prized stars themselves) who just write [stuff]?

So who will protect the written word? The answer, ultimately, is probably no one. Some people do seem to be trying, but they must also hedge their bets. The Ringer, Bill Simmons’ second attempt at a Good Website, has so far amassed a staff that appears to be slanted heavily towards writers. And yet, the biggest announcement out of the shop so far is that it has partnered with HBO for a post-Game Of Thrones recap show. 

There are ethical questions that arise when a website that aims to carry the torch for cultural criticism teams up with the leading manufacturer of prestige television, but it’s no surprise that those questions have taken a backseat to, you know, getting the hell onto HBO.
...
This post is obviously a self-serving lament. Perhaps readers (well, viewers and listeners now) won’t notice or particularly mind as the amount of primarily word-based content pushed into their feeds shrinks. The market simply doesn’t provide as many writing jobs as there are people who wish to make their livings as writers, something that is the case in most “creative” fields. 

And, of course, there are likely to be even fewer slots for writers in our video-centric media future: The production of professional-quality video is hugely expensive compared to the production of words, and it requires significantly more behind-the-scenes labor than the current dominant forms of internet writing—blogging and personal essays. Resources will have to be shifted.

An explosion of video content probably means fewer distinct critical voices, overall. And probably fewer interesting ideas, as well. So far, the Content Internet’s video boom has not valued thoughtfulness and critical thinking. Since Buzzfeed’s viral watermelon detonation (already an epochal event in digital newsrooms), publications have suddenly tossed their writers in front of cameras to satiate the industry’s sudden and accelerating obsession with streaming stunts and experiments broadcast on Facebook Live. These streams have been light and goofy in a self-consciously amateur way, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But the videos are also, on the whole, unwatchable.
"---

/cc +Alexander Becker +Max Huijgen +Steve Faktor +David Wood +Jon Henry +Cindy Brown +Lev Osherovich 
Here are two recent articles about BuzzFeed:
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+Alex Schleber​ WNYC's On the Media has been covering this story for much of the past decade, if not two. "Developing new business models for monetising the news industry" is their somewhat improbable jingle for the series.
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#infosec #privacy  Public Service Announcement... #adblocking  just got "real-er"

(after the recent inception on iOS / Safari which caused quite the stir in Content/Media circles over on Twitter, but strangely got very little play over here on G+...)

...with Firefox drawing even, putting the power back with the USER where it belongs for a "User Agent" (as the "browser" has always been known in technical circles) - i.e. our "agent" should be on OUR side first and foremost, and protect us from endless, and often shadowy tracking and #surveillance .

(Which BTW can affect VERY REAL things even if you think "you've got nothing to hide" in terms of your Credit Rating, your cost of Health Insurance, asf.)

/cc +Steve Faktor +Edward Morbius +Alexander Becker +Cindy Brown +paul beard +David Wood +Shaker Cherukuri +Gideon Rosenblatt 
We’re releasing a powerful new feature in Firefox Private Browsing called Tracking Protection. We created this feature because we believe in giving you more choice ...
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+Edward Morbius thanks, will check those out.
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Solid #branding  rationale, go with your greatest strength:

"...You may know us from such popular websites as Stack Overflow Q&A, Stack Overflow Careers, The Stack Exchange Q&A Network, and most of your Google search results. [for Web/technical subjects]

tl;dr - We’re changing our company name.
Here’s what’s changing:
- As of today, our company will be known as Stack Overflow.
- Our logo is different. But only a little.
...
Q: Are you “just not that into” the Stack Exchange network anymore?
No. Nonononono.

Our commitment to the Stack Exchange network is completely unchanged, and we’ll continue to invest in its expansion and growth. SE’s users have built a network of constructive, civil communities of helpers on a previously unheard-of scale, and we’re insanely proud to be a part of it. Here are just a couple of facts to drive home how much you’ve all achieved:

- The network as a whole has more monthly 5-time posters than English Wikipedia has 5-time monthly editors.

- Stack Exchange is the 47th most visited website in the US without Stack Overflow, and gets roughly as many US visitors each month as the New York Times.
"---

blog.stackoverflow.com/2015/09/were-changing-our-name-back-to-stack-overflow/

/cc +David Wood +Sandy Fischler +Steve Faktor +Woozle Hypertwin +Ana Hoffman +Gideon Rosenblatt 
We are Stack Overflow. You may know us from such popular websites as Stack Overflow Q&A, Stack Overflow Careers, The Stack Exchange Q&A Network, and most of your Google search results.
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P.S. The logo update mini-video is kind of priceless:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=uipTZ2re4Uk
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#alphabet   #dns   #newTLDs  - The stupid, artificially constrained .com namespace needs to die anyway... it's a total anachronism of 1990s era Web technology, and if Google's use of the new abc.xyz for Alphabet makes a dent for the new TLDs, it can't come soon enough...

Also compare: "...Paul Graham ‏@paulg 8h
"Unless you're so big that your reputation precedes you"
15 retweets 69 favorites
"---
re: his post from a few days ago, which ironically dealt with naming/domain name issues for startups paulgraham.com/name.html

"...If you have a US startup called X and you don't have x.com, you should probably change your name.

The reason is not just that people can't find you. For companies with mobile apps, especially, having the right domain name is not as critical as it used to be for getting users. The problem with not having the .com of your name is that it signals weakness. Unless you're so big that your reputation precedes you, a marginal domain suggests you're a marginal company. Whereas (as Stripe shows) having x.com signals strength even if it has no relation to what you do.

Even good founders can be in denial about this. Their denial derives from two very powerful forces: identity, and lack of imagination.

X is what we are, founders think. There's no other name as good. Both of which are false."
---

/cc +Gideon Rosenblatt +John Blossom +Gregory Esau +David Wood +Eli Fennell +Sandy Fischler +Steve Faktor 
 
You won't sell, huh? How about for 10 BILLION dollars? Seriously, ALPHABET, Inc. per se is unlikely to be a consumer-facing firm in the usual sense (though obviously various of its subsidiaries with other names will be). So if BMW wants to hold onto alphabet.com, das ist mir recht.
Alphabet is Google’s new entity that will house its search and other businesses, but BMW already has a unit called Alphabet and owns the domain name.
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*A LONG time coming... try about 6 years, ever since the introduction of Twitter's "New RT".*

Back then this was my most widely retweeted post ever:
businessmindhacks.com/post/twitter-tries-to-change-retweets-doesnt-get-the-social-in-social-media

We'll never know how many users Twitter lost with their persistent missteps from those days...

/cc +Paul Simbeck-Hampson+Theo Tol+Max Huijgen+Steve Faktor+Alexander Becker+John Blossom+Eli Fennell+Sandy Fischler +Gideon Rosenblatt+Tadeusz Szewczyk​​
Twitter is finally fixing one of the worst things about its services: the "Quote Tweet" button. In an update that's rolling out today, the button now embeds the tweet ...
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While on the subject of Medium features, the way their comments work is worth thinking through for elsewhere as well:
medium.com/@ev/responses-are-not-free-for-all-comments-6c9a4927c03
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Predictable backlash... hold firm...
#netneutrality
 
Yay! We all pulled together and won net neutrality! Except we didn't:

Excerpted from +Ars Technica​:

"US Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) this week filed legislation she calls the "Internet Freedom Act" to overturn the Federal Communications Commission's new network neutrality rules."

"These rules 'shall have no force or effect, and the Commission may not reissue such rule in substantially the same form, or issue a new rule that is substantially the same as such rule, unless the reissued or new rule is specifically authorized by a law enacted after the date of the enactment of this Act,' the Internet Freedom Act states."

"The legislation has 31 Republican cosponsors."

[...]

"In the latest election cycle, Blackburn received $25,000 from an AT&T political action committee (PAC), $20,000 from a Comcast PAC, $20,000 from a cable industry association PAC, and $15,000 from a Verizon PAC, according to the Center for Responsive Politics."

We continue to have the very best system of government that corporate money can buy ... for themselves.
Internet providers need the freedom to block and throttle Internet traffic.
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Mind Explorer.
Introduction
UPDATE 1/2015: Currently working nearly full-time on a software startup project (more details to come). I may be relatively sparse on here for that reason, but you can always ping/reach me if necessary.

---
Mindhacker. I dive into the murky depths of the human mind to emerge with Business Mindhacks (including Behavioral Economics) and Archetype Branding. 

I also do heavy curation on all things Web Tech, #infosec, Web politics, user-centric services. Previously on Amplify.com. Now mostly here on Google+.

Business Mindhacks: Business Psychology Consulting and Coaching, Archetype Branding, Behavioral Economics including Price-Point Psychology, Neuromarketing, Lifehacks, GTD, Cognitive Science, Memetics, Wordpress/blogging. Myers-Briggs: INTP.

*re:Curation*

Seriously, who's got time to write long-form posts anymore? It's tedious and often counterproductive. A luxury we often cannot afford anymore at best:


I subscribe to a modular, "info molecule" (instead of "info atom") philosophy, too bad the tools out there are still so very limited...

Will Google+ manage to bring us some useful Curation features?
Bragging rights
Recently customized the Node.js - MongoDB database driver to nearly double performance. Strange that this is becoming my world again... :)
Work
Occupation
Mindhacker. I dive into the murky depths of the human mind to emerge with Business Mindhacks and Archetype Branding. Curation fanatic.